“Huainanzi” is an important classic in the history of Chinese culture. (Image source: Watch Made in China)
“Huainanzi” is a work collectively compiled by Liu An, the king of Huainan of the Western Han Dynasty, and his disciples collected historical materials, also known as “Huainan Honglie” and “Liu Anzi”. Gao Yu of the Eastern Han Dynasty believed that “Hong” means vastness, and “Light” means light, and this book is “the words of Da Ming Dao”. The original book of “Huainanzi” has 21 volumes of inner chapters, eight volumes of middle chapters, and 33 volumes of outer chapters. Only the inner chapters survive.
Ban Gu’s “Hanshu·Yiwenzhi” classified it as “Zajia”, and “Siku Quanshu Zongmu” classified it as “Zajia”, which belonged to Zibu. Liang Qichao said: “”Huainan Honglie” is the Yuanfu of Taoism in the Western Han Dynasty. Its book is extensive and coherent, and it is the first-rate among Han writings.”
According to the research of later experts, “Huainanzi” was written by many hands, with extensive content, discussing politics, philosophy, astronomy, geography, nature, health preservation, and military affairs. Master, adopting the views of Confucianism and Yin-Yang School, revising the pre-Qin Taoist political theory of inaction, and developing the theory of interaction between heaven and man, is a collection of academic thoughts of various schools in the early Han Dynasty, and is regarded as a representative work of miscellaneous schools of thought.
“Huainanzi” was annotated by Xu Shen and Gao You in the Eastern Han Dynasty, and it was included in “Zhengtong Daozang” in the Ming Dynasty. In the 20th century, there are full translations in English and Japanese, as well as partial translations in French and German. It is an important classic in the history of Chinese culture.
Gao You in the Eastern Han Dynasty once wrote “Huainanzi Notes”, and believed that Liu An “had eight people including Su Fei, Li Shang, Zuo Wu, Tian You, Lei Bei, Mao Quiet, Wu Bei, Jinchang and other Confucian scholars from Dashan and Xiaoshan. , talk about morality, the president’s benevolence and righteousness, and write this book.” Liu An, the king of Huainan, was a person with profound academic accomplishment among the royal family and nobles at that time. He attracted thousands of guests and alchemists to write books and talk about it.
Gao You said in “Huainanzi Preface”, “Its purpose is close to Lao Tzu, indifferent and inactive, vain and quiet, and enters and exits the scriptures. If you talk about it big, it will cover the world; if you talk about it in detail, it will be reduced to infinity. As well as ancient and modern chaos, survival, misfortune, fortune, and strange and wonderful things in the world. Its righteousness, its wealth of literature, and things are all contained in it. However, its great comparison is attributed to Tao.”
According to the research of later generations, the completion of “Huainanzi” may be inspired by Lu Buwei’s compilation of “Lushi Chunqiu”, and the book was compiled in imitation of the scale of “Lushi Chunqiu”. “Huainanzi” is based on Taoist thought, but it is mixed with a hundred schools of thought to make its ideological content more flexible and practical.
In 139 BC, Liu An presented this book to Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty for the first time. Emperor Wu loved this book and kept it secret. At the end of the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Xiang revised the collection of books in the palace, called it “Huainanzi”, and listed it as a “miscellaneous” work.
In addition to the 21 volumes of the inner chapters of “Huainanzi”, Liu An and his guests also wrote 33 volumes of the “outer chapters” and 8 volumes of the “middle chapters” on fairy arts and alchemy, but only the inner chapters of “Huainanzi” have been circulated. Hereafter.
According to the research of modern scholars: “Huainanzi” has a wide range of contents, including ancient myths, contemporary government affairs, ancient anecdotes, astronomy, topography and philosophy. It integrates hundreds of schools of thought, quotes as many as 800 ancient books, and often reorganizes the pre-Qin period. The words of the philosophers clarify their own new viewpoints. The authors of each article in the book have their own advantages, and everyone did not seek to unify their opinions before writing. Although the style is consistent throughout the book, there are many discontinuities in the content, which are quite different from each other. “Huainanzi” collects the thoughts of various schools of thought, and Taoism is the most colorful. The book embodies Huang Lao’s learning, and takes Taoism’s “Tao” as its fundamental thought. “Huainanzi” has a well-organized structure, which was an unprecedented genre at that time, far better than “Lu Shi Chunqiu”, and can be compared with Sima Qian’s “Historical Records” in terms of organization.
Let me briefly introduce Liu An, the king of Huainan.
Liu An was the grandson of Liu Bang, Emperor Gaozu of the Han Dynasty, and the son of Liu Chang, King of Huainan. In the eighth year of Emperor Wenwen of the Han Dynasty (172 BC), he was granted the title of Marquis of Fuling. In the sixteenth year of Emperor Wenwen of the Han Dynasty (164 BC), he was granted the title of King of Huainan. Liu An is good at reading, playing the drum and playing the qin, and is good at debate and writing. He doesn’t like to play and hunt, but pays attention to comforting the people, and he is famous all over the world.
At that time, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty liked literature and respected his father Liu An more. Every time a letter is given, Sima Xiangru and other scribes are often called to read the draft before sending it out. When Liu An entered the court, he presented new works, which were often hidden by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty treated Liu An kindly and courteously.
Liu An has aspirations in mind, and he intends to gain political initiative in case of troubles in the world, actively manufacture war equipment, accumulate money, and bribe the local powerful factions of the Han Dynasty. Liu An also studied military maps day and night, and secretly carried out combat deployments. The illegal incidents of the Huainan nobles gradually came to light. When the court pursued them, Liu An finally launched a rebellion. However, the rebellion was quickly and successfully put down by the Han Dynasty. Liu An was convicted of treason and treason, and Liu An finally committed suicide in fear of crime. Huainan State was abolished. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established Jiujiang County here.
Although the ending of Liu An, the king of Huainan, is not good, it is undeniable that “Huainanzi” has historical value and important status.
The author will gradually introduce some of the contents of “Huainanzi” to readers.
(to be continued)
Editor in charge: Shen Siming Source: See China–All rights reserved, any form of reprint needs to see China’s authorization.The establishment of mirror sites is strictly prohibited.
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